Show Your Trees You Care

Elm Tree Suffering? You May Need To Have It Removed

When a tree starts to look a little lack-luster, you can often have it watered and fertilized, and perhaps sprayed with some fungicides, and then watch its health improve over the coming months. However, if the tree in question is an elm tree, you may be better off taking a stronger approach and having the tree removed sooner rather than later. Why? Well, there's a good chance the tree has Dutch Elm Disease. Here's a closer look at what that means.

What is Dutch elm disease?

Dutch elm disease is a serious fungal disease caused by the species Ophiostoma novo-ulmi. This fungal species was first discovered in the U.S. in the 1930s. American elm trees are highly susceptible to the disease, but other elm species, including the rock elm and red elm, can also contract it. Dutch elm disease is always deadly. It's just a matter of how long it takes the tree to die once it's infected.

What are the signs of Dutch elm disease?

The first sign is usually the yellowing of the leaves. Usually, the leaves around the edge of the crown turn yellow first, and the yellowing slowly moves inward. This tends to happen in the spring. As the seasons go on, the leaves start falling to the ground prematurely. The tree may succumb to the infection this first year and not even get leaves the next year, or it may fight on for another year or two, looking increasingly yellow and ill with each passing year.

Why should a tree with Dutch elm disease be removed?

There are actually two reasons why you should have a tree with Dutch elm disease removed sooner rather than later.

First, this condition does cause the tree's wood to weaken. Therefore, an infected tree is at an increased risk of losing a large branch or even falling over completely in a big storm. This would cause a lot of damage.

Second, Dutch elm disease is spread from tree to tree by beetles. As long as you let your tree sit there with an active infection, there will be beetles living in it and carrying the fungi to other nearby elm trees. 

Removing the tree means you won't have to worry about it damaging your property or about spreading Dutch elm disease to other elm trees.

If your elm tree is ailing, call a tree removal company. If they agree the tree likely has Dutch elm disease, they'll remove it for you.